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Totonicapan, Guatemala

January 16, 2010 to January 30, 2010

Do you want to be part of a team that will improve the lives of others? No special construction skills or language abilities are required for this adventure — just a positive attitude and the desire to make a difference for a family in need of affordable housing.

While building in Totonicapan — located in the mountains of western Guatemala — our team will experience the warmth and friendliness of the local Mayan inhabitants who speak the K’iche language. In addition to our building activities, we will spend time touring nearby markets and the beautiful mountainous countryside. After completing our work, we will visit Panahachel at Lake Atitlan (often referred to as “the most beautiful lake in the world”) as well as the quaint colonial town of Antigua. Join us!

About Guatemala
Guatemala is located in Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean between El Salvador and Mexico and bordering the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea) between Honduras and Belize. Volcanic peaks, scenic coastlines and a forested mountain interior shape the brilliance of the Guatemalan landscape.

Guatemala is a small country in Central America, with an estimated population of 12.7 million. Guatemala has a tropical climate along the lower elevations and cooler weather in the mountains. The country is full of rich indigenous culture and Spanish traditions. However, Guatemala also has a nearly 80 percent poverty rate and a housing deficit above one million units.

About Habitat for Humanity Guatemala
Since its founding in 1979, Habitat Guatemala has built more than 25,000 houses, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 140,000 Guatemalans in need of stable housing. HFH Guatemala constructs earthquake-resistant houses made with concrete floors, block walls and corrugated zinc roofs. Habitat has a presence in all Guatemala’s departments, working with more than 205 local committees in 260 communities.

For more information, visit

Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers will be involved in new construction and repair work. During construction days, the team will be trained in the use of construction tools and the types of housing solutions they are going to be working on. Technical supervisors and masons will be present every day on the work site to guide the construction.

To guarantee the safety of all team members, the national office will provide safety goggles and hard hats, as well as written emergency and evacuation plans at every work site. There will also be portable bathrooms with water and soap and designated resting areas with chairs and drinkable water near every build site.

Standard itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday): Greeted at the airport by Habitat Guatemala staff; shuttles to Antigua if team arrives before 5 p.m.; if not, stay in Guatemala City.
Day 2 (Sunday)
: Orientation with Habitat Guatemala staff member; travel to project site; welcome ceremony with families and Habitat staff; dinner.
Days 3–8 (Monday–Saturday, work days)
: Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. with lunch on site (In the rainy season or hot areas, work days will start earlier.); free time after work to clean up; supper of typical Guatemalan food; time for team activities.
Day 9 (Sunday)
: Free time in local community.
Days 10–12 (Monday–Wednesday, work days)
: Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. with lunch on site (In the rainy season or hot areas, work days will start earlier.); free time after work to clean up; supper of typical Guatemalan food; time for team activities. Farewell ceremony on Day 12.
Day 13 (Thursday)
: Travel back to Antigua; free time; overnight in Antigua.
Day 14 (Friday)
: Free time; cultural activities; overnight in Antigua.
Day 15 (Final day, Saturday)
: Departure day.

Note: Trip includes special events throughout the week, including cultural experiences with affiliate staff, such as traditional dances, market tours, boat rides, etc. There will also be a walking tour of host city and a farewell ceremony.

Hotels are simple and basic and typically located near the project site. Guatemala’s climate is humid, and the rooms in some areas may smell a bit musty. Hot water is typically provided; however, the water heating systems may not work as well as in volunteers’ home countries. In most cases, hotel rooms will be cleaned and maintained daily and are screened for safety.

Trip cost

Trip cost includes: donation to the Habitat host program and HFHI; meals; accommodations; transport (excluding trip participant airfare); medical emergency evacuation and trip cancellation insurance; some local cultural activities and team coordination and orientation materials. The team leader’s trip cost and estimated airfare may be included in the trip budget. The trip cost does not include trip participant airfare, R&R activities or visa and exit fees (not applicable for all destinations).

Team leader
Dave Kvapil of San Antonio, Texas has led or joined GV teams to Argentina, Guatemala, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan and Romania. This will be Dave’s third trip to Guatemala with Habitat. For more information, contact Dave at

To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

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